perfect ten

Perfect Ten is a humorous list-themed feature column by Justin Olivetti and Eliot Lefebvre. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

Perfect Ten: Amazing MMO cosplay

I have nothing but deep respect for cosplayers because on two levels they are performing activities that I cannot. First of all, they put together incredible outfits that must take hours and hours of painstaking research and skill (not to mention money!) to assemble. And second, they go out in public and subject themselves to a nonstop barrage of stares and pictures.

As with any other geeky field, MMOs have attracted their fair share of cosplayers over the years. Today we’re going to look at 10 amazing outfits and the people who both put them together and wore them proudly.

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Perfect Ten: Mobile MMOs coming soon to a pocket near you

It may be true that interest in playing and developing mobile games has peaked, although personally I very much like mobile gaming. On the flip side is the fact that studios like NCsoft and Nexon are investing heavily in mobile development, and games like Forsaken World Mobile are giving us hope that online RPGs are still seeking to break into the market.

Mobile gaming is so dang convenient, especially when I find myself away from a computer with a few minutes of nothing else to do. Waiting for my kids to get out of school? Spending quality time in the bathroom? Curled up in bed before sleep? All prime mobile gaming time.

It’s been a deep desire of mine, then, to see a crop of good mobile MMOs spring up. While there certainly have been some, including the highly lauded Order & Chaos and all of Spacetime Studio’s library, nothing has given me the same taste and pop that I get from a computer. Fortunately for me and other mobile gaming lovers, there are many up-and-coming titles in the MMO genre to watch. Will one of these be the game of our dreams? Let’s take a look at the lineup and see if there’s some promise here.

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Perfect Ten: Ten MMO futures that never were

One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about is Operation Unthinkable. For those of you who don’t feel like clicking the link, it was essentially Winston Churchill’s plan to start World War III right as World War II ended, except this time with the Allies against the Soviet Union and with re-armed German soldiers as shock troops. I’m glossing quite a bit, but the point is that the whole plan was always nuts and weird, and it would have made for a very different world than the one we actually live in.

But then, that’s just me. I like to speculate about what could have been but wasn’t, even if it never had a particularly big chance of happening. So here are 10 possible versions of games that never were – some that did launch, some that didn’t, and none of them things that we’ll ever get to play for better or for worse. But it’s still fun to speculate, hmm?

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Perfect Ten: Clever features that should be in more MMOs

MMOs are built on the backs of many interlocking systems, some more crucial to the experience than others. While I have great appreciation for the core systems that make up these games, such as combat, crafting, and chat, I must admit that my imagination and devotion are often set aside for the satellite systems that offer more innovation and flavor.

Today I’m going to point out 10 clever features that I think should be in more MMOs. I’ll pick one game to highlight each of these systems, although the game in question may well not be the only one to harbor that feature. And if I can get through the entire article without making a Jurassic Park “clever girl” reference, I’ll be golden.

Well, drat.

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Perfect Ten: MMO fan fashion scenes

For some of us, having the best gear — stat-wise — isn’t a driving force for playing MMOs. Now, the best-looking gear? That’s a whole different story.

It’s incredibly rare these days for an MMO not to offer players the option to create a cosmetic outfit from their favorite virtual articles of clothing. Ever since games started to do this, there’s been a community devoted to looking absolutely fabulous. For players in that community, finding gear that has a unique or complementary look is the real name of the game.

Today we’re going to look at 10 fan projects to celebrate and show off MMO fashion across the realm. Know a site or blog that isn’t on this list but should be? Give it a link salute in the comments!

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Perfect Ten: Ten lessons I learned as an MMO healer

Back in my World of Warcraft and RIFT days, I spent an awful lot of time in dungeon runs as a healer. I even still function as a flashpoint medic in Star Wars: The Old Republic when our healer isn’t pulling his or her weight. It wasn’t that I sought out healing roles to begin with, but that my class selection (Shaman, Druid, Cleric, Operative) just so happened to include heals, and I guess that curiosity and peer pressure gradually convinced me to give it a try.

I won’t say that I was the all-time best healer you’ve ever seen, but I generally kept my group alive and pulled us through some incredibly tricky fights. I even enjoyed it, once I got past my initial jitters and embraced the lifestyle. These days I don’t heal as much, although I actually do miss it.

So anyway, here are 10 lessons I learned as an MMO healer (semi-retired)!

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Perfect Ten: The 10 dev stages of every new MMO class

Any game with classes adds new classes over time. It’s almost axiomatic. I don’t know why absolutely every game cannot be designed with the classes that the designers want from day one, and I really don’t know why I can’t say that, look at a brand-new game, and still find myself immediately asking about when I get new classes. I was speculating on new classes for Star Wars: The Old Republic when it had been out for two weeks for funk’s sake.

But whatever game you’re playing, there’s a pattern to these new classes being added. It’s an inevitable pattern, one that happens time and again. It’s also a pattern that fits nicely into an article structured around the titular number of bullet points, which is really good for me because I apparently cannot rename the column to “Perfect Seven-And-A-Half” for a week. This is also why I still haven’t gotten a drinking game in here.

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Perfect Ten: Weirdly specific quests we keep encountering in MMOs

You know how you wince whenever you think of typing /played into your MMO and realize just how many hours you’ve given to a pretend world? I can only cringe at the thought of seeing a tally of how many in-game quests I’ve performed since 2001. At least 20. Probably more.

Game developers are quick to tell you that there are really only a small number of quest archetypes, including “kill 10 rats,” “FedEx,” “click glowies,” and “escort the suicidal NPC.” Yet within those categories are thousands of sub-types of missions, from the unimaginative to the truly bizarre. The best ones arrest our attention, keep us enthralled, and leave us wanting more.

Having done so many quests over a decade and a half, I’ve noticed that even some of the stranger quest sub-types tend to pop up across a spread of MMOs. When you’re done killing 10 boars for their livers, take a gander at this list of weirdly specific quests that we keep encountering.

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Perfect Ten: MMO terms that have overstayed their welcome

My original plan for this week – during the few moments that I was capable of coherent speech rather than just babbling about the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV expansion – was to give you lovely folks a drinking game. Each time you see certain things come up in indie MMO Kickstarters, take a shot. And I might still do that one day, but I decided against it for two reasons. One is that it feels a bit like punching down, which I don’t like to do.

But the second reason, and the more important one, is that not all of the fault can be laid at the feet of indie Kickstarters. The part where you expect to build a functional MMO on a budget that won’t pay for a single programmer, yes. Pretty much everything related to Greed Monger, that’s on you. But some of these terms come up over and over because they’ve been bludgeoned into formless masses now, and so it’s not really the fault of the indie folks that you can throw these terms in front of more or less everything.

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Perfect Ten: The top 10 healthiest live MMOs

One question that consistently pops up across the MMO gaming circuit is, “What are the most popular/healthy/active MMOs out there?” Every time I see this question, I sympathize with the concern behind asking it. For some players, finding a game that not only exists but is hopping and has the greatest potential for a future is of paramount concern.

Massively OP reader Duffy suggested that we cover this very topic when he asked, “Which MMOs are struggling and which seem to be rolling in gravy? Do MMOs in general do very well or are most just able to keep the lights on?”

It’s a difficult question to answer off-the-cuff because there are a lot of variables to consider. Instead, I researched several angles, including player tracking services, frequency of patches, financial reports, and even how often each game pops up on blogs. While the following isn’t definitive, I feel strongly that the following 10 games are the healthiest live MMOs on the western market right now.

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Perfect Ten: Why you should care about the Infinite Crisis shutdown

It might seem a little odd that the one thing to break through my current state of hyper-excitement for the launch of Heavensward and the upcoming free-to-play conversion for WildStar is the shutdown of Infinite Crisis. But it’s also the first piece of news that I’ve actually found kind of worrisome, and I don’t usually get unsettled. Games get shut down, games keep running, launches happen, impacts are overestimated — it happens.

Infinite Crisis was not something I would call one of my main games, or even something I would call one of my games at all. I’ve played it at demo events and that’s about it because I don’t much care for the genre. But even if you share my general ambivalence toward the market, even passing into full-on antipathy, you should be paying attention to this. This is news, it’s important, and there are reasons to care about it even if you normally would have let it pass wholly under your radar.

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Perfect Ten: Proof that the RuneScape Twitter account is stark raving mad

For a writer on a multi-MMORPG news site, following pretty much every online game’s Twitter feed comes with the territory. It’s always interesting to me to see what “personalities” each feed develops over time, from the shy guy who posts only once a month to the toddler-esque accounts that repeat the same information every hour on the hour so that you can’t ignore it.

Most Twitter accounts are informative, but there is one that keeps catching my eye with — how do I put this nicely — how absolutely crazy-awesome it is. And that account is RuneScape.

Any time the official RuneScape Twitter account sends out a notice, there’s a 50% chance that it will be some nutty non-sequitur or appropriated meme that has only the vaguest connection to the game. Lots of the posts make game references that pass me by (which is to be expected), but the tone and weirdness of it all arrests my attention frequently. That’s why I need to share it with you today so that I’m not alone in bathing in the bizarre.

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Perfect Ten: Future MMOs that I can’t wait to play

I imagine that most of us have a future bucket list of MMOs that we wish would get here already. It wasn’t but a couple of years ago that I was salivating over several major up-and-coming releases, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guild Wars 2, and WildStar. My list of most-anticipated never seemed to get smaller, it seemed.

Flash-forward to 2015 and it feels as though we’re in a different era all of the sudden. Games are still being made, to be sure, but there seems like there are fewer blockbuster-wannabes on the horizon. I’m really happy playing what we already have, although I miss that feeling of “ooh, I can’t WAIT!” that used to drive my excitement.

Even so, there are several titles in development that have my attention to varying degrees. Maybe some of these aren’t the big-budget extravaganzas I was used to and maybe a couple are long shots, but as it stands, here are 10 future MMOs I can’t wait to play.

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